If you have made it this far you probably know who the Harbison Trail Runners are. If so jump to the bottom and provide your email address and you'll be signed up for our weekly newsletter where we announce scheduled runs, events, race results, and provide hard nosed reporting on things like who fell down the week before or got lost in the forest. If you don't know who we are, then keep reading.
Who are we?
The Harbison Trail Runners are a group of primarily trail & ultra runners, though some of our asphalt cousins sometimes join us as well.
When and Where do we meet?
The Harbison Trail Runners meet every Saturday at Harbison State Forest, right off of Broad River Rd, in the front gravel parking lot.
The main group run begins at 7:00 AM with only slight adjustments when needed to allow for daylight. A few people usually run an earlier loop at 5:40 AM with headlamps.
What course do we run?
The normal course skirts the outer perimeter of the forest; clockwise take Firebreak Trail to Stewardship Trail to Midlands Mountain Trail back to Firebreak Trail. This is about 9 miles of rolling terrain. On occasion we will mix it up and all trails are fair game.
How fast do we run?
Paces vary depending upon who shows up but most runners cover this course between 1:10:00 - 1:25:00. This is a pace of about 7:30 - 9:30 per mile but keep in mind when comparing trail pace to road pace that trails are little bit harder and also a bit less consistent.
Who is welcome?
You are, and all your friends. If you are new to trails or new to running, come and enjoy the forest.
What if I don't know my way around the forest?
Not a problem, we always make sure any new person is buddied up with someone who knows the trails so you won't get lost or left behind.
What if I can't run that far or that fast?
If you are not up to running 9 miles or to maintaining at least a 10:00 per mile pace not a problem. Drop us a line or post a message on our Facebook page to let us know ahead of time you are coming. There are many options in the forest for less distance and most weekends there is someone recovering from a race or tapering for one and they would appreciate your company on something shorter or slower and we will buddy you up with them. But let us know ahead of time so we can make sure there is someone not running the regular route.
Anything else I should know?
Yes, there is a parking fee for the forest, it is $5 for one day or an annual pass is $25. This is the best deal in town. There is a pay box in the parking lot & you can drop in cash or check. Be warned, the rangers will ticket you if you do not have a pass.
Anything other than that I should know?
Yes, Harbison State Forest is a FOREST, not a Park. Because of this they receive no money from the Parks department. Their funding comes from the SC Forestry Commission and from the timber harvested from the forest. This means occasionally there is timber removal going on or controlled burns to train firefighters. It also means every trail we run on which is not designed for a forestry commission vehicle is maintained by the non profit organization Friends of Harbison State Forest. This non profit group is separate from the forest itself and your parking money does not go to the Friends. You should join the Friends as without them you would have no trails to run on. Visit them on Facebook.
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